CFA Level 3 vs. 2

Whoever said CFA Level 3 was the easiest level was lying…LYING I tell ya! I don’t know where that myth came from…but from the time I started studying for the CFA, I’ve heard on a few separate occassions people saying “Level 2 is the hardest to pass…once you pass that, Level 3 will be a breeze”.

I wish!

I find Level 3 much harder to study than Level 2. Level 2 was more about valuation, the theoretical calculation part. And theory is much easier to learn from the textbook. Level 3 is more about application, which to me is hard to do right now because my job is not so much about portfolio management, more about fundamental credit analysis. There was much more math in Level 2 which I am more comfortable with. Also, Level 3 kinda assumes you already know all your shite (which I don’t), and skims through the theory parts (because you are supposed to already know) straight into application. I’m doing all the practice questions now and am freaking out at how much I really don’t know…I come to really basic stuff and I go brain-dead, like yield-to-maturity? what? duration? what was that about again? what? what? wtf?

Yesterday, I saw someone on the train reading the Level 1 textbook. I actually felt sorry for that guy. I feel sorry for anyone that’s just starting out on Level 1. Just thinking about having to take and pass 3 more exams would be a nightmare. But of course I’m just saying it cos I’m just so burnt out after 3 years of this already. I’m a total pussy. It’s “only” been 3 exams. It’s not like say an actuary who has to take a gazillion exams or something like that. I don’t know how they do it. I’m adamant about being a chao mugger in this last month just so I can somehow pass this one and not have to study for an exam ever again.

Okay, I’m totally just complaining right now and I really shouldn’t be. I should be appreciating the opportunity to learn and all that shite. Bah.

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8 Responses to CFA Level 3 vs. 2

  1. Don’t worry, this too shall pass! Wish you all the best and hope you come out with flying colors!

  2. kelchan says:

    “this too shall pass!”

    yes it will!

    thank you!! =D

  3. CK says:

    Saw your comments on level 3 while searching for materials. I agree with you totally.- is more on application definitely..

    FYI. I do fundamental credit analysis too and find the stuff in CFA Level 3 quite tough. Minus the calculations bit… am keeping my fingers cross to pass.

    Just want u to know that u are not the only one going through this and do cheer up… good luck for ur exams!

  4. Dominique says:

    Hiya Kelly,

    You already know how I feel about Level 3, so I won’t repeat myself here.

    Needless to say, looking forward to us both celebrating our hearts out in August, as members of an exceedingly exclusive (though not at all elite) club!

    P.S. Remember how I freaked out looking for that CD-rom? Turns out I purchased the online access version instead! D’oh!

  5. loi tran says:

    Good luck on your exam. I’m burnt out as well after studying 400 hours for this beast. I still don’t feel ready for this exam for some reason.

  6. PLawrence says:

    After 100s of hours of studying for Level III, I don’t have nearly the same comfort level as I did going into Level II. I scored 72, 60, and 65 on Schweser’s Volume 2 MC tests compared to the averages of 69, 62, and 67. I’m studying a lot more for this level than II, but am scoring a lot less on the practice exams. I don’t know what else I can do….Glad to hear I’m not the only one.

  7. Matt says:

    The CFA recommends 250 study hours for each of the exams, and I have to say, I find that really light. I only finished level 1 and am knee deep in L2 right now, but I can’t say I find it a whole lot harder than L1. Just my opinion though, clearly a lot of people disagree with me based on the general feeling that L2 is supposed to be the hardest, but I just don’t see it. Haven’t seen any L3 material, so I can’t comment there, but hopefully I pass in june and will get a chance to look at L3 some time early next year.
    I see this blog was written a while ago. did you pass L3?

  8. Victoria Wong says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Congrats on your Charterhood :)

    Noted that you used Schweser manuals for L3, did you also use them for L1 & 2? Did you try Stalla notes in any case?



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